Miami Heat-Boston Celtics series getting physical

The physical nature of Game 1 between the Heat and Celtics on Sunday nearly got the best of Mario Chalmers.
Moments after a timeout in the second quarter, the Heat’s backup guard found himself in the middle of a scrum in front of the Celtics’ bench. Harsh words were exchanged. Delonte West was given the game’s first technical foul. Before things could escalate, LeBron James rushed over from the Heat’s bench and pulled Chalmers away.
If Game 1 was a primer for things to come, more dust-ups and physical confrontations are in store for a second-round NBA playoff series between two teams built upon a physical style of basketball.
With emotions teetering on a knife’s edge, poor judgment and lapses in concentration can make a significant difference — just ask Celtics forward Paul Pierce.
For the Heat, channeling its energy constructively will be a point of emphasis in Game 2 on Wednesday at AmericanAirlines Arena.
“We know it’s going to be words said and plays made that might not be basketball plays throughout the course of this series, which we know is going to happen, but we’ve got to understand that we’ve got to continue to play the game and not get caught up in the aftermath of everything,” James said.
James’ quick reactions during that timeout likely saved Chalmers a technical foul or worse. Pierce wasn’t so lucky. He lost his poise twice after two hard fouls by James Jones and Dwyane Wade, received technical fouls for retaliation both times and was ejected from the game.
On Monday, Pierce avoided suspension for Game 2 when the NBA announced no further punishment would be levied for his actions. He pushed his face into Jones’ face on one instance and was kicked out of the game after shouting profanity at Wade.
“It’s the playoffs — both teams are going to be chippy,” Wade said. “They took some hard fouls on us, we took some on them and that’s the nature of it.”
Forward Chris Bosh said he expects things to intensify as the series moves forward, especially when one of the teams is facing elimination.
Bosh scored seven points on Sunday but helped limit his counterpart, Kevin Garnett, to six points on 3-of-9 shooting.
“We don’t expect K.G. to have a game like he had last night but we also don’t expect C.B. to have a game like he had,” James said.
On Monday, a practice day for both teams, the Heat rested its starters and mostly focused on reviewing film of Game 1. Coach Erik Spoelstra said he would like to see less jump shots from his team but conceded that success or failure of the Heat’s midrange game would be an important factor in the series.
“Half-court execution was satisfactory at times but we still need to be more committed to executing our triggers and try to get more opportunities in the paint,” Spoelstra said. “It’s tough against a team like that.”
Wade, who led the Heat with 38 points Sunday, was 5 of 8 from midrange. After reviewing film, he said his open looks at the basket were a byproduct of the Celtics’ defensive focus on James.
Wade expects the Celtics to adjust their approach in Game 2.
The series’ overriding theme, physical basketball, will likely not change, though.
Both teams expected a physical series between Eastern Conference titans.
“We’re physical teams; we’re defensive-minded teams,” Spoelstra said. “We play a similar style of basketball and it’s the playoffs.”
On Monday, Wade made light of questions about the tough tone of Game 1.
It featured 40 fouls, including five individual technicals.
“I haven’t been in the second round in a long time but I’m assuming this is how it is, Wade said. “But maybe I’ve been out of the loop for a little while.”

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